Iowa Center for Evaluation & Research
DMC Resource Center

Youth Transition to Adulthood

Improving Outcomes for Youth in Transition was a three-year project of the University of Iowa School of Social Work in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS).  The project provided training statewide to public child welfare supervisors, caseworkers, and community partners who are involved in transition planning for youth who are aging out of the child welfare system. Click here for the curriculum overview.

Supervisor training
Supervision is a specific area of practice with its own skill sets. The supervisor training includes content in the core principles of transition planning as well as the skills for supervising caseworkers in the work of transition planning.  

Click below for the Supervisor training curriculum on the core principles of transition planning:

In addition, we offer several workshops:

Click here for a full table of contents for the supervisory training. Click here for preface materials for a supervisor participant manual.

The project also created several tools to assist supervisors in evaluating their caseworkers' achievement of competence, and in creating individual and unit supervision plans to improve transition practice. Click below to review the tools.

  • Worker Competencies and Task Analyses for Transitioning Youth (Handout 1, Handout 2)
  • Individual Supervision Program (Handout)
  • Unit Staff Development Planning tool (Handout)

For more information about the NRCFCP's developmental supervision model and Supervisor Developmental Planning and Support Toolkit, please see our website's Recruitment and Retention page.

Caseworker and Community Partner Training
Training was implemented with IDHS caseworkers and community partners in all eight service areas in the state, involving supervisors in a leadership role in planning and implementation.  

Click here to download caseworker manual.
Click here to download community manual.

Youth Involvement
Foster/former foster youth contributed to all aspects of the project, including consultation on curricula and participation in each of the supervisor, caseworker, and community trainings.  

Click here for our slide show, "Pictures and Stories of Iowa Youth in Care"
Click here for a link to "Voices of Youth", a music video made especially for the training by elevate, an Iowa youth advocacy group.  "Voices of Youth" presents songs and poetry by former foster youth about dislocation and multiple moves, fear of attaching to a new family, grief over the loss of sibling connections and hope for reconnection and success. 

Project Implementation
Advisory Committee: The project advisory committee met on a monthly basis.
Matrix of independent living curricula: In collaboration with the University of Louisville, we reviewed the 12 independent living curricula develop for caseworkers and prepared a matrix summarizing the curricula and their coverage of core principles and unique features. 

Competencies: Competencies for supervisors and workers were developed based on the review of IL curricula, focus groups, and key informant interviews. Nine competencies for public child welfare supervisors and nine competencies for public child welfare caseworkers were identified.  Click here for the competencies.

Evaluation: An extensive evaluation examined the levels of participant satisfaction with the training; knowledge gained during the training; utilization of knowledge and skills at the time of training and six months after the training; differences in the youths' transition planning experiences from pre-training (2007 interviews) to post-training (2009 interviews).  We also summarized the youths' recommendations to DHS workers and other teens leaving care.  Please see the final report for a summary of the evaluation findings.

Improving Outcomes for Youth in Transition in Your State or Agency
The supervisor training or other components of the Improving Outcomes for Youth in Transition project can be replicated in private and public child welfare agencies.   We will tailor the project to meet your agency's needs.  Our trainer consultants can:

  • Deliver all or part of the training package to supervisors in your agency
  • Adapt the modules for use in your state or agency
  • Conduct an organizational assessment to determine agency needs for transition training
  • Work with administrators, supervisors and line staff to develop competencies for your agency's particular work
  • Evaluate the impact of the training on practice and youth outcomes

A unique feature of our training model was to provide a leadership opportunity for supervisors in transition planning by involving them closely in planning and implementing training for caseworkers and community partners. We believe this approach resulted in greater commitment by supervisors and caseworkers to improved transition planning, and it strengthened partnerships between the child welfare agency and the community.

For more information, please contact Bonnie Mikelson, Associate Training Director, at 515-490-1308,

NRCFCP - 319.335.4965

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